Ready, set, go! These are magic words when it comes to flyball — a popular team sport involving dogs and their handlers.

K9 Kommotion, a competitive FlyBall Racing team from Clear Lake, will again be part of this year’s fourth annual Galveston Island Dog Show — A Bark in the Park.

The event, sponsored in part by Classic Auto Group Galveston, will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 26 in tree-shaded Kempner Park, 27th Street and Avenue O.

Often referred to as drag racing for dogs, flyball racing has become one of the most exciting activities featured at Bark in the Park. It showcases four dogs competing in a team relay race against another team of dogs.

The course is 51 feet long. Each of the dogs must jump over four hurdles, trigger a box to get a ball and then return over the four hurdles back to their handler. What is so great about this sport is that anyone can participate as a handler as long as they are able to hold, release and catch their dog.

Any breed of dog can play — purebred, mixed or rescue. The dogs must be a year old to compete and cannot be aggressive toward other dogs or people. Size doesn’t matter as dogs as small as Yorkies and as big as Great Danes compete.

You won’t want to miss this year’s competition and watch these canine competitors get really excited when their handlers say the magic words, “Are you ready?”

As a spectator, you’re sure to enjoy the energy, competitiveness, and variety of dogs that compete.

A Bark in the Park welcomes all dogs and all breeds and their families. On-site registration opens at 9.30 a.m. and will be followed by the Blessing of the Dogs ceremony at 10 a.m., which is officiated by the Rev. Serge Veselinovich, priest and rector of St. Constantine and St. Helen Serbian Orthodox Churches. The competitions commence immediately following the blessing.

It’s just $10 an entry, this is a lighthearted competition that will be great fun for the entire family. Entry forms and requirements can be downloaded at www.galvestonislanddogshow.com.

In addition to K9 Kommotion, expanded activities will include The Doggie Derby hat contest, the popular Ask the Vet booth manned by Drs. Lea Fistein and Ken Diestler, agility demonstrations, obedience demonstrations presented by Mutts with Manners, microchip services, spay and neuter information and Canine Good Citizenship Testing.

You will also have the fun opportunity to shop at vendor booths that showcase everything from pastries and lemonade to canine arts, crafts and services.

Last year, more than $20,000 was raised for the Galveston Island Humane Society, the sole beneficiary of this event. For information, call 409-771-1747 or 409-740-1919, or visit www.galvestonislanddogshow.com.

Guest column

Allison Schoenvogel is chair of the fourth annual Bark in the Park.

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